Featured Post

Featured Post - Mystery Movie Marathon

I thought I'd kick the new year off with another movie marathon. I thought it was time to check out a few old school mystery flicks. Som...

Monday, February 20, 2023

Island of the Burning Damned (aka. Night of the Big Heat) (1967)

It is winter in England… well except if you live on the small island of Fara. There the temperature has hit the high nineties with so stop in sight. To that end we meet the locals. Jeff is a writer who also runs the local pub with his wife Frankie. There is also the island’s M.D. Dr. Stone and a cranky mysterious man named Hanson. As we see folks complaining about the heat Jeff’s new secretary Angela shows up to start her job. She wears a bikini, which is quite the thing. What is odd is that no one seems terribly concerned that the island is cooking while it is freezing right across on the mainland. We also know that everyone is aware of it because of radio reports.

What is up? Turns out that Hanson is a scientist that has come to investigate Fara. He has tried to convince the authorities that aliens have followed a radio signal back to the observatory and are testing Earth out for colonization. They apparently need things to be hot so cue the heat wave. Despite the obvious strange weather no one is coming to help them, so they must try and stop the invasion themselves. Nothing works and pretty much everyone is dead before the last three minutes happen. In those three minutes we hear thunder, it rains, and all the aliens die… probably because they cooled off. The end.

The Drama... The Scandal!
Island of the Burning Damned had all the ingredients for a cool movie. Isolated island setting, alien invasion, mysterious deaths, and a great cast, more on that later. So, what the hell happened? First up the story is painfully slow. We get so much walking around and people talking about the heat that there is never any momentum. We spend more time watching Hanson setup a camera trap then we do with them discussing the aliens! This is even worse with the introduction of a major subplot involving Jeff and his new secretary Angela. They had an affair in London, and she has pursued him to the island to try and continue things while he wants to leave peacefully with his wife. Sweet… forget the aliens I want the drama of an affair. Not really. The movie feels like they didn’t really have much of a plot and threw a bunch of random plotlines in to pad things out. I still can’t get over the abrupt and silly ending. I mean advanced spacefaring aliens didn’t know it was going to rain! Really?

I was especially disappointed with this because it wasted direction from Terence Fisher, and performances from both Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. That is some legendary British horror both in front of and behind the camera. All three are hamstrung with a script that goes nowhere and other characters that don’t deserve the screentime they get. I wanted more Lee and Cushing and less girl drama! Damn asshole script killed them off and left the girl alive… stupid movie.

Yinz gonna move... ever?
The aliens in this alien invasion movie are saved until the very end. For most of the movie they are a portrayed as a spotlight on the victim while a loud sound plays. When we do see them, they are at best a Horta (classic Trek reference… hope you get it) looking rubber blob that I don’t believe ever actually moves on camera. You know real scary stuff. Other than that we get nothing. Despite them telling us “something landed” we never see a ship or anything. Not even a crappy cardboard set! Very disappointing.

I can’t recommend spending your time on Island of the Burning Damned. It just isn’t a good movie. If you want to see a very similar and much better executed flick check out Island of Terror also starring Peter Cushing and directed by Terence Fisher. It is even from the same year!


© Copyright 2023 John Shatzer

No comments:

Post a Comment